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Pakistan court upholds death sentence of convict in minor’s rape, murder

The brutal rape and murder of the child had sparked outrage and protests across the country.

world Updated: Mar 21, 2018 22:29 IST
Imtiaz Ahmad
Imtiaz Ahmad
Hindustan Times, Islamabad
Pakistan,Minor's rape and murder,Lahore High Court
A slide showing a picture of Imran Ali suspected of being a serial killer responsible for the rape and murder of a seven-year-old Zainab Ansari is shown at a press conference in Lahore on January 23, 2018. (Reuters)

A Pakistani court has upheld the death sentence given to a man convicted of the rape and murder of a seven-year-old girl, a crime that shook the country and sparked outrage and protests.

An anti-terrorism court last month sentenced to death 23-year-old Imran Ali on four counts – murdering a child, kidnapping a child, rape of a minor, and committing an unnatural act with a minor – in one of Pakistan’s shortest trials for such a crime lasting just four days.

Ali was also sentenced to life imprisonment and given another seven-year jail term in addition to the death penalty.

The Lahore high court upheld the anti-terrorism court’s verdict on Tuesday and dismissed an appeal by Ali, who contended the ruling was made in haste without following legal procedures.

Ali was arrested in January, two weeks after he raped and killed the 7-year-old girl and dumped her body in a rubbish heap in Kasur city, 50 km from Lahore.The crime triggered outrage and protests in cities across Pakistan.

This was the twelfth such crime recorded within a 10-kilometre radius in Kasur over a 12-month period. Ali’s arrest brought to light seven more crimes and many people demanded he should be publicly executed.

A division bench comprising justices Sadaqat Ali Khan and Shehram Sarwar Chaudhry dismissed Ali’s appeal after hearing arguments by the prosecution and the defence counsel.

Ali’s lawyer Asad Jamal questioned the admissibility of DNA findings that the anti-terrorism court had relied on. He said there was a misconception that the DNA test was foolproof evidence. Ali also said he should be treated with leniency because he had saved the court’s time by confessing to his crime. He added courts in developed countries treated criminals who confessed with leniency.

Additional prosecutor general Abdul Samad said the anti-terrorism court had awarded its punishment in light of Ali’s confession, DNA analysis and testimony by witnesses.

Ali can now appeal against the high court’s decision in the Supreme Court.

In another case in Lodhran district, 400 km from Lahore, an anti-terrorism court gave the death sentence to a man on Tuesday for raping and killing a six-year-old girl.

First Published: Mar 21, 2018 14:07 IST